The preseason polls usually get things right. This year, however, some major surprises are in store.
Generally the predictions at the beginning of each Big 12 men's basketball season hold true at the end, so Kansas State had to be glad once they heard their name called as the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 title. In the last nine years, the preseason prediction has went on to claim at least a tie of first place in the Big 12, a sign that the most loaded teams are quite obvious in their ability to stay the course of a whole season. Then 2011 happened.
This year, some teams are up while others are down, although no squad is more surprising than the Kansas State, who received a preseason No. 3 national ranking (AP). In a poll of Big 12 head coaches, the Wildcats received 10 of 12 first place votes (the others going to Kansas), and the returning depth (9 lettermen) should have taken them deep into post-season play. Now? They'll be lucky to make the tournament.
ESPN describes how rare it is for such a heralded preseason team to miss the post-season: "Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have been just 4 instances where an AP preseason top-5 failed to make the Tournament." The last team ranked that high was No. 2 Louisville who missed the Big Dance in 1987. Recent drubbings from three ranked opponents certainly won't help their cause come Selection Sunday either.
The Wildcats need to blitz their way through the post-season tournament to have a chance, and certainly stranger things have happened. Yet it's clear the Wildcats were not who everyone thought they were, and they're most likely headed toward one of the most frustrating and confusing seasons in recent college basketball memory.